The Columns – February 2016


Love is the “usual” topic for the month of February as we look toward the upcoming Lenten season and, of course, Valentine’s Day. Love implies relationship. Jesus taught that the greatest commandments were “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”, and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

When my granddaughter, Audrey, was about three years old, she sleepily toddled into my bed one morning around 5:00 a.m. She groggily focused on my face and said, “Nana…how many hearts do you have?” I went into auto-response and said, “One, Audrey.” As I shook the cobwebs from my brain I wised up enough to add, “What about you, Audrey? How many hearts do you have?” “Ten,” came her reply. She continued to speak while holding up one finger at a time, “I love God with my whole heart…I love Mom with my whole heart…I love Daddy with my whole heart…I love Jackson with my whole heart…I love Nana with my whole heart…” Nothing made me happier than to hear that I had made her Top Ten list! In Audrey’s mind, if you were to love someone with your whole heart, you must have a heart for everyone you love! Ten was as high as she could count at the time.

The Bible teaches us that love is the greatest of all things. C. S. Lewis wrote a steaming novel in the 50’s entitled The Four Loves. He reminded us that in the Greek language there are specific words for different types of love. Phileo love is a brotherly kind of love that exists between friends. Storge love is the bond of affectionate love that imparts from parent to child or child to parent. Eros is the passionate love of romance or sexuality. Agape love is the unconditional Divine love that we share with God. It is the greatest of the greats! This is the perfect love that drives out fear, offers grace, has no boundaries or limits, and lasts for all eternity.

So what kind of heart does it take to encompass all these kinds of love? It takes a human heart…one that is uniquely designed to bear the image of our Creator. Each of these four kinds of love, in their original beauty and form, when untainted by sin, are created to be great loves, with the Greatest of these the love we have for our Heavenly Father who loved us first. None of the loves that we experience in the earthly realm can approximate the depth of the love that Heaven holds for us. Not phileo, eros, or storge can bring the fulfillment that agape love provides. If we are in unhealthy love relationships on earth, the lack and the cure are the same…to love the Lord our God more purely. When anyone or anything other than God takes first place in our lives, all forms of love become distorted.

What is your heart condition this year? Are there places to be opened? Wounds to be healed? Some extra giving to be done? Are you adept at listening to your heart?

A few years ago, my grandson, Jackson, received his first-ever medical kit. Complete with reflex hammer and stethoscope, he was busily investigating everyone in his path! As he perched on his dad’s lap he had the stethoscope in his ears and he gently placed the bell on his father’s chest. He listened intently with a most serious expression on his face. His dad cocked his head to one side and whispered, “What do you hear, Jackson?” Matter-of-factly, Jackson responded, “I hear God talking.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.”
– Psalm 106:1

DEANA MITCHELL • Director of Women’s & Prayer Ministries •

Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm

Tuesdays • January 19 – April 12 • Epic of Eden • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316
Wednesdays • January 20 – April 13 • Epic of Eden • 10:30AM • E&A Room 316
Tuesdays • September 2016 (12 Sessions) • The Letter to the Romans • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316
Wednesdays • September 2016 (12 Sessions) • The Letter to the Romans • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316

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